CLIMATE change has likely "accelerated" the decay of historic buildings, including the Wee County's Castle Campbell, it has been claimed.

Inquiries are being carried out by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) as they implement a fresh approach to inspecting the fabric of buildings it cares for.

Visitor access restrictions will be in place at Castle Campbell from this month as the heritage body takes forward a programme of "tactile condition" surveys.

Dr David Mitchell, director of conservation at HES, said: "Our routine inspections are increasingly revealing the deterioration of building fabric at high level.

"While our changing climate is not the sole reason for deterioration, it has certainly accelerated it and brought the issue to a head.

"Historic properties are inherently fragile by their nature, often ruinous and standing at exposed locations.

"We face a constant battle against time and the elements."

The tactile survey programme, which is the result of ongoing risk assessment and sample surveys, will assess the impact of climate change and the scale of deterioration caused other factors.

These include the materials used in the building's construction, its age and physical location.

It is anticipated that remedial works could require significant investment over many years and could require a different management approach to be taken.

In terms of access arrangements at the Clacks castle, Dr Mitchell said: "The safety of staff, visitors and contractors is our top priority and access restrictions at Castle Campbell will unfortunately be necessary.

"We are currently assessing where partial access can be put in place at sites where it is safe to do so, and information will be posted to the HES website as it is available."

The survey at Castle Campbell is part of a wider national programme including more than 200 properties and sites.

Dr Mitchell added: "Across the world, cultural heritage assets are seen as barometers of change and they demonstrate the challenges for the historic environment and traditionally constructed buildings in the face of a changing climate.

"We are taking proactive action now to assess the nature and scale of the immediate challenge and to explore a range of solutions and options.

"It is inevitable our approach to protecting historic buildings will have to change; we need to reimagine how we manage these historic and much-loved places.

"A range of solutions is needed, including repairs, investment, and new and innovative interventions.

"In some cases, reduced physical access and accepting the natural process of decay will need to be considered."